HUNTINGDON – Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Barry A. Leonard, of Franklin County, recently charges Jonathan D. Goshorn, 33, of Fannettsburg, with 23 counts of unlawful taking or possession of deer.
If convicted of all charges, which were filed before District Judge Brenda Knepper, Goshorn faces fines and penalties of up to $23,000 and 69 years revocation of his hunting and trapping privileges.
Based on a tip, Leonard confiscated from Goshorn’s possession: two sets of antlers from deer illegally killed in 1992; seven from 1995; four from 1996; four from 1997; one in 1998; two in 1999; two in 2005; and one in 2008.
“It was amazing that one person would illegally kill so many deer,” Leonard said.
“Significant theft of wildlife, such as this poaching incident, may be treated more seriously in the future if the General Assembly approves legislation recently introduced to upgrade fines and penalties for this type of significant poaching,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director.
House Bill 97, sponsored by House Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Edward Staback, proposes to increase fines and penalties for a variety of wildlife violations. This measure, which is similar to House Bill 2205, which Staback introduced last session, would create felony-level offenses, with the possibility of imprisonment, for significant poaching activity.
“This would elevate the punishment for those who willfully steal Pennsylvania’s wildlife resources to the same degree as any other major theft offenses,” Roe said. “Presently, such violations are classified as summary offenses, which are on par with a traffic ticket.”